Withholding

Waiting for the bus, I saw my next door neighbor Dorian, who is a med student at CMU. The Harvard or Yale of Pittsburgh. He inquired as to the reasons for the size of my book bag, as many should and do. It’s filled with, not video equipment, but Anatomy, Drawing, and Physiology textbooks, as well as Math and Algebra, personal work, all things that I am compiling as a learning aide to young artists. So I tell him so. He nods and commends me, though that wasn’t the intention in telling him, and he wishes me luck. Then adios, as his bus to Oakland comes. He tells me not to be in such a hurry to teach a class, he has one with eighty-four students and the grading of papers is unbearable.

* * * *

As I got on my bus, I was trying to call my friend Dan on my cell phone. The bus driver had his hand over the slot where you pay. This usually means that I’m not to pay now, but upon exiting the bus. I was on the phone, as I said, which happened to be answered by Dan’s mother, so of course I didn’t give any more thought to the bus driver’s intentions.

Dan wasn’t home, and the bus driver did indeed need me to pay

As I thanked Ms. Gerard and hung up, I told the bus driver how I was mistaken when I thought he was covering the receptacle. I showed him my bus pass. He said, “Oh, no. I’m just holding on as we go down this hill.” He was real friendly about it, and it was all cleared up. Then I went to sit down, which, in of itself was precarious due to my over-sized backpack.

I pushed up against the back of the seat and as far back into a corner as physics would allow, so that I wouldn’t land on the floor at every turn.

The Coast Guard fellow sitting next to me made a comment about my inching and shying away, and rather wryly added that he didn’t have a disease or anything.

No,” I told him, “I’m not scooting away, I’m just holding on.”

It was then that I realized that most of the people on this constantly spinning globe of ours, who appear to be withholding, giving some refusal or negativity, are actually doing what everybody else is doing. Holding on.

* * * *

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